The actor who taught the world and little Danny Torrance about shining got his legendary nickname right here in Dayton.
Scatman Crothers was born Benjamin Sherman Crothers in 1910 in Terre Haute, Ind.
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He is known for roles in a list of films that includes “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” “The Transformers: The Movie” (1986),” “Silver Streak,” Twilight Zone: The Movie” and the horror classic “The Shining” starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd as Jack, Wendy and Danny Torrance.
Crothers famously played hotel cook Dick Halloran in the 1980 Stanley Kubrick movie, based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel “The Shining.”
Crothers, also the voice of Hong Kong Phooey in the classic cartoon, explained how he he got he nickname “Scatman” during an interview for a July 1978 issue of Ebony magazine article.
From the article “Scatman Crothers: After 50 years in Show Biz, An ‘Overnight’ Success”
In 1932, on the advice of some musician friends who thought he could find work in Dayton, Ohio, he drove over.
“I had never been to Dayton,” explained Crothers, “so I got to town and asked a police office where was the nearest radio station.” The policeman obliged, directing him to the office of KSMK (later WING). Crothers went in, asked for the program director and said: “I’m Sherman Crothers, I just got in town from Terre Haute, Ind., and I’d like to take an audition.”
Crothers was a guitar plater by then, and he got his chance.
After his audition, the program director said, “Great! We’ll give you 15 minutes a day, Monday through Friday. But what are we going to call you?”
Remembers Crothers: “Out of the clear blue sky I said, ‘Call me Scatman.’ They laughed and asked why. I said, ‘Because I do quite a bit of scatin,’” and have them an example of his “Shoop! Bob-be-doo-um-boo-bah techique.
Thus the Scatman was born.